Cinema-In-Chief: Just Mercy and Watchmen Among Barack Obama's Favorite Films and TV Shows of 2019 [Updated]

(L-R) Just Mercy (2019); Watchmen (2019)
(L-R) Just Mercy (2019); Watchmen (2019)
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO

We’re coming to the end of a year (and decade) and it’s time for Barack Obama’s tradition of sharing his faves!


When Obama isn’t golfing or still kissing babies (you can take the politician off of the campaign trail, but…), he likes to chill and watch movies and binge television, just like us.

This weekend, the 44th president of the United States shared his top films and TV shows of 2019.

For black-ass films, it looks like Obama really enjoyed the Bryan Stevenson memoir adaptation Just Mercy, the critically acclaimed The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and Mati Diop’s Atlantics.

He was also really into Amazing Grace, noting on Instagram that an Aretha Franklin concert is “one of the most special places in history.” Speaking of docs…like the Leo he is, Obama definitely had to include American Factory, the first Netflix doc from his and Michelle Obama’s production company.

“It’s our first offering in partnership with Netflix, and I’m excited about the other projects we’ve got in the works,” Obama wrote on Instagram in a well-placed promo.


I also have to admit that I looked up Ash Is The Purest White off of the sole strength of the title. It is not about black folks and their fear of ashiness, folks. Shit, now that I’ve watched the trailer, I’m adding it to my list of films to watch. Thanks, Obama.

As for the small screen, Obama joined the Watchmen fan club, too! I can only imagine the conversations surrounding the Yahya Abdul-Mateen II reveal (both of them). I was hoping for an addition of When They See Us, though, especially given his “as powerful as movies” declaration for the TV list!


There you have it, folks. Another year, another Obama list. Oh, and Mr. Obama already shared his book list with us. Next up? Music. We’ll keep an ear out…


Update: 12/30/19, 1:10: p.m. EST:

Were your ears ringing, too? Because the former president did, in fact, post his favorite music of 2019 on Monday afternoon.


Along with his summer playlist which included Lil Nas X and Lizzo, Obama rounded out the year with some DaBaby, Solange, Mavis Staples, Snoh Aalegra, J. Cole, Kaytranada and more. You want a presidential playlist? It’s now available to stream on Spotify.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



Yay, Booksmart (the only movie on the list I’ve seen, BUT also a great and seriously hilarious romp!)!

And Fleabag: Season 2, which is the only other thing on the list I’ve seen. I don’t feel bad about not being up on stuff though, because I’d rather spend my time on that booklist!